Is it spring yet?

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Image by LMoonlight on Pixabay

 

Has it really been more than two months since my last post here? Time flies, but not really. Lately, it kind of drags. So much is happening in some areas of my writing life, while not so much in other areas.

I’m writing, working on new and exciting projects, going to critiques and conferences, and attending writers’ groups. It takes time, energy, and dedication. The search for an agent and a new publisher goes achingly slow. This is the most discouraging part of being an author (at least, for me).

Trying to create a social media presence is also a pain. I’m not a bragger by nature. There’s something inside me that keeps me from sharing the usual “hey, look at me” crap so many in my field use to stir up interest in their work. I don’t blame them. Actually, I admire them for being able to do that. It would probably help to have a grandiose Facebook page with tons of followers and a billion likes, but most authors’ posts have nothing at all to do with writing – even their own. I can’t see the relevance of sharing an author’s latest bowel movement just to have something to post every day. This explains why I have a Facebook page I don’t know how to use, or care to use, and why the only thing I really know how to do is click on that little “thumbs up” thing when I like something someone else has posted – generally pics of dogs and cats, or a really cute joke. I suppose I’ll have to figure it all out. Hopefully I’ll have plenty of legitimate writing posts to share with my multitude of Facebook followers – six in all!

Recurring is still making the rounds, ditto for finding a publisher to reissue the Jersey Girl series. Agents take up to six months to get back to you (yeah, I’ve mentioned this before. I’m repeating myself).

Sigh!

New projects are faring better. My short story, Slow-Cooked, is almost done but needs a bigger punch for the ending. I’m working on it. The critique group got a kick out of what exists of the story so far. The Boardwalk Psychic books are coming along nicely. Hopefully the first will be complete soon and I can shop it around as a series – which takes time. Dear God, I’m repeating myself again!

On a more mundane note, it’s going to snow again here in New Jersey. Garden State, my ass! I’m sick to death of seeing white. Did someone misplace spring? Where are those lovely yellow forsythias I’ve been waiting all year to see?

Have a wonderful day and please feel free to comment. It lets me know someone is actually reading my posts.

 

Merry Christmas to all . . .

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It’s been a while since I last posted. If you believe the old adage that no news is good news, there’s this bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. So far two literary agents have passed on Recurring. I think I know why. I have to rework the beginning of the book, which I can now see reads far too passively and doesn’t match the intensity level I have created throughout the rest of the manuscript. Second, I can’t write a decent query letter and/or synopsis to save my life.

There are different approaches when attempting to condense a book into one or two pages. I always take the high road and give the agent the crux of the story – in addition to revealing the ending. No surprises. I pull no punches. She or he knows exactly where the tale is taking her/him, and is better able to judge whether or not they are interested enough to see the entire manuscript. In my mind, it’s only fair. From all the advice I’ve gotten from fellow writers and through conducting extensive internet research, I’ve learned this is exactly the WRONG way to go if you’re seeking an agent. You have to keep them wanting more. You also have to whet their literary appetites enough to request the rest of the book. Logically, it doesn’t make sense to me. But humans are funny animals and I guess building up the suspense and leaving an agent hanging, or maybe (hopefully) even begging for more, makes a whole lot of sense.

Okay. I’ll play the fr*****g game. I don’t care much for it, but I’ll play.

I’m still mapping out the Boardwalk Psychic series, and those will be fun reads, but not as light and humorous as the Jersey Girl cozies. Actually, these books are more on the serious side, despite my protagonist’s occupation, which most people consider to be a complete scam. Hey, at least I’m writing!

Educated

If anyone is looking for a great non-fiction read over the holidays, I suggest you give Educated: A Memoir a try. I read it in one day. Now whenever I’m tempted to blame my parents for screwing up my youth, I thank God I had Marie and Joe Lamon to raise me, rather than author Tara Westover’s parents. I guess we all have to overcome our childhoods, don’t we?

Have a great Christmas all!

AND READ SOMETHING

Pop-Up Shop

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ME

Five Sisters-in-Crime writers spent an amazing day at the Pop-Up Shop event held inside the Monroe Library today. Eileen Watkins, Roberta Rogow, Daria Ludas, Nicki Montaperto, and yours truly, sold our books and spoke to readers and several would-be writers. It’s remarkable how talking writing can bring out the best in people. I heard life stories, dreams, and aspirations of those wishing to write, but lack the confidence to take that very first step and begin the process.

102_0451Eileen Watkins, Nicki Montaperto, Daria Ludas, and Roberta Rogow (front)

I also learned something that surprised me – I’m not as technologically-stupid as I had previously thought. Can you imagine? I actually knew how to transfer and download pictures from phones and cameras, and explained the process to a fellow writer. I also created (with the help of my daughter-in-law and WordPress) and maintain my own website. One writer has a website and she’s lost when it comes to posting – even though she had hired someone to design the site for her. I gave some suggestions (like, who am I to suggest this stuff to anyone?), but I found I actually knew what I was talking about! Okay, I’m no computer genius, but I almost feel like a tech-guru because I kinda get it.

Anyway, I had a successful book-sales day and loved talking writing, as always, to anyone who would listen.

No word on Recurring yet, but I haven’t really been sending out queries either. Hopefully more about that next week.

Enjoy the long weekend everybody. Stay warm if you’re in cold, blustery Jersey!

Pop Up Shop

Good evening everyone! This is just a brief post to inform Jersey readers (and those in nearby states) that I’ll be at the Monroe Township Library on Saturday, November 10, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. for a Pop Up Shop. The shop will include several members of Sisters in Crime, and we will all be peddling our wares, ummm, I mean selling our books at the event. Join us if you’re in the area.

On a personal note, I went to an exclusive spa over the weekend for a complete head-to-toe makeover. Cost me a fortune, but I think it was well-worth the money:

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BEFORE                                     AFTER

Let me know what you think! Have a great night all of you readers!

All Saints Day and I Don’t Feel a Bit Saintly

 

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Old Bridge, NJ

Hello readers and writers. It’s been a while. As this is the official fall color season, I’m posting a few pics of the semi-local trees changing. They’re gorgeous this year.

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Thompson Park – Monroe Township, NJ

Onto writing, or rather the search for an agent. I’ve sent Recurring to two thus far, and have heard not so much as a peep from either of them. This is probably the most discouraging part of getting a book published. Good representation is key to placing a manuscript with the right publisher. Unfortunately, almost every agent I’ve researched list in their guidelines that they might take anywhere from two weeks to two months to let you know if they decide to request the full manuscript – and if you don’t hear from them you can assume they are not interested. Oh, as an added bonus, they would rather you didn’t query more than one agent at a time. This has always annoyed me, as a poor writer could be left hanging for months, hoping and praying, all for naught. One sap I know has been waiting for six months to hear back from an agent! He absolutely refuses to send his book elsewhere until he hears from the literary agency where he originally sent his manuscript. It seems we writers are the bottom of the barrel in the publishing world. I know agents have their pick, but at least let an author know one way or another.

So I’m playing the waiting game, but I do have other news. Yeah, it’s equally unpleasant.

The publisher of my Jersey Girl cozies, PageSpring Publishing, is officially closing up shop in December. This means the books (both paperback and electronically) will no longer be available for sale after November 30th. If you’ve skipped one of the books in the series, order it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble this month or you may never be able to read it. The links below will lead you to all the Jersey Girl books:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Jo-Ann+Lamon+Reccoppa

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Jo%20Ann%20Lamon%20Reccoppa

The only good news is that PageSpring is being kind enough to gift their files to all the authors in their writers’ stable come December. This means I can go to a different publisher who will re-issue the series with a new ISBN, and who perhaps will request additional books for the series. We’ll see how that goes. The first step is to contact various publishers to see if they’re interested, or even find an agent (sigh) to see if they’ll consider representing the series.

Meanwhile, I’m diligently working on my Boardwalk Psychic series and as always, hoping for the best. Who knows? Maybe this is the incentive I needed to kick my output up a notch or two.

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South Brunswick, NJ

Have a great night and wonderful weekend everybody! Get out and enjoy the beautiful fall colors.

 

Labor Day Weekend

As a writer, I tend to put off reading until I’m nearly finished with whatever fiction is in the works for me. Recurring is close to being completely done, wrapped up with a pretty bow, and ready to send to agents, so I’ve been binge-reading. By a strange coincidence, most of my friends just happen to be writers. Imagine that!

Linda Author Photo

Enter Linda Rawlins, V.P. of Sisters in Crime – Central Jersey chapter.

Linda is probably the most upbeat, amiable person I know. She’s the author of two series: the Rocky Meadow Series and the Misty Point Mystery Series.

 

Linda's Misty Point books                                Rocky Meadow Series

 

 

 

 

I haven’t started on the Misty Point books yet, but I have read all three of her intriguing Rocky Meadow books. Because many scenes take place in religious surroundings involving Father Michael Lauretta (one half of the endearing Doctor Amy/Father Michael sleuthing team), I find this series comforting. For those of you who know me, I’m about as far from a bible-thumper as a person can get, yet my background of years (and years and years) attending parochial school, have left me somewhat nostalgic for the good old/bad old days (my teachers were tough nuns, enough said).

Other settings, such as the hospital where protagonist Doctor Amy Daniels is the acting medical examiner, are familiar to anyone who has ever given birth, or had the various health scares and mishaps life brings. Author Linda Rawlins is a physician (in addition to being a writer – where does she find the time?), so she has the inside scoop and intimate knowledge of medical procedures and venues, and her writing proves it.

All-in-all, the series is a great escape. Of the three, Sacred Gold is my absolute favorite!

Now onto other things.

I’ve found creativity in everyday misery. I’m outlining a short story inspired by two weeks of on-again, off-again back pain. As you’ve probably guessed, it involves a rather sinister murder plot. What’s the use of lower back pain if you can’t kill someone off and find relief? Once finished, I intend to pitch it to Ellery Queen’s or maybe Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. On second thought, the plot is probably too icky for Ellery Queen. After that, I might finish a decent outline of Lesser Saints (as always, I’m dragging my feet on that, too), or even resume my Boardwalk Psychic series. What a way to spend a holiday weekend.

Everybody have a fun and safe Labor Day. And if it rains and you find you’re bored to death with indoor activities, for God’s sake – pick up a book and read!

Deadly Ink 2018

This past weekend was the Deadly Ink conference in Iselin, NJ, and a more devoted group of mystery lovers couldn’t be found anywhere else in country. Granted, some people don’t find crime as uplifting and simulating as those of us who chatted with talented authors and sat in on discussion panels. I personally don’t like the idea of skydiving or some of the other activities where you can lose an arm or a head, and prefer murder and mayhem as a way to get my kicks.

To each her or his own.

What fun it was to hear story plots, unusual death scenes, insights into investigation, and the bad guy’s motivation!

New Jersey and You

I took some really awful pictures of several panels. Above are mystery writers Linda Rawlins, Jane Kelly, Jeff Cohen, Peggy Ehrhart, Eileen Watkins, and moderator David Manfre. I guess my hand was shaking, or someone moved, or EVERYONE moved at the same time – and I wasn’t wearing my glasses! Above was the clearest shot! Excuses over. I’m posting previous pics of several panelists (I guess taken when I was wearing my glasses and nobody moved), so no one will hate me.

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Meanwhile, Recurring is almost completely revised and edited. I’m shooting for the end of the month to get at least a query letter, brief and/or long synopsizes (that doesn’t look right but spell check assures me it’s correct), and the first three chapters of the book into the hands of agents. Wish me luck!

Meanwhile, stay dry if you’re in New Jersey. If not, I hope you’re in a spot where the sun is shining and there’s no humidity.